Who Do You Want Mitt Romney to Pick for Vice President?

Bookmark and Share As the race for President seems to have entered a perpetual state of boredom that is filled with a bumper sticker mentality of shallow stump speeches that offer little insight and a whole lot of repetitive pot shots and one liners, concerned voters find themselves left with but one last intriguing question —- who will Mitt Romney pick for Vice President?

Rob Portman

Aside from the actual election results, the question of who Romney will pick for Vice President is perhaps the only moment of suspense remaining in the campaign.  And as such, who he picks could actually make more of a difference than it has in most of the presidential elections in our recent past.  In fact, according to a CBS News/New York Times  poll released last Wednesday, 74 percent of registered voters said that a candidate’s running mate  matters “a lot” or “somewhat” to their vote,(26 percent  said that it matters a lot, while 48 percent said that it matters somewhat). At  the same time, 25 percent said that it doesn’t matter at all.  However; that sentiment is often expressed at this point in every presidential election, but by the time Election Day rolls around, it is a sentiment that is usually proven wrong.  Yet in the case of Mitt Romney and this extraordinarily polarized electorate, who he picks could make the difference between winning and losing.With swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin at stake, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan  could add the percentage or two to the election result in their respective states that is responsible for putting Republicans over the top in the Electoral College.But with figures like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or New Mexico’s Susana Martinez also on the list of possible contenders, the combination of their being women and being representative of different minority groups, has the potential to erode an important part of President Obama’s base vote just enough to make a small difference in a multitude of states that Romney is currently considered less competitive in.

Marco Rubio

What Romney is thinking is anyone’s guess though and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. The only thing we know for certain right now is that some names are less likely to be selected than others.  Take Mitch Daniels for example.  He’s a highly successful and popular two term, conservative Governor of Indiana who I originally hoped would be our presidential nominee.  With his command of matters of the budget and fiscal conservatism in general, he would be a perfect running mate for Romney in a campaign that will be based on fiscal responsibility.  Daniels also has crossover appeal and would be a perfect balance for Mitt.  Unfortunately though, Mitch  has agreed to become the President of Perdue University at the end of his term in January.  So he’s out.  Unless of course that decision was thrown out to throw us off the track?

Paul Ryan

The there’s Chris Christie, or at least there was.  He has supposedly been given the honor of delivering the highly coveted keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  That essentially means he won’t be delivering an acceptance speech at the convention.  Unless of course the rumors about his being the keynoter were intentionally thrown out for public consumption to throw us off the track?Another very striking contender was Virginia’s popular conservative Governor, Bob McDonnell.  With his national star rising from Virginia, another key battleground state in this election, his presence on the ticket could deliver a state that is practically a must win for Republicans.  But McDonnell has been named chairman of the Republican platform committee, a job that brings with it the type of contentious floor fights and baggage that automatically scratches him off of any V.P. short list.So those are is at least one name you can take out of contention and two which you can stop taking bets on.  Maybe.

McMorris Rodgers

But that still leaves us with a mix of both likely and unlikely contenders who can potentially be nominated to join Romney on the G.O.P. ticket.  They range from names such Senator Kelly Ayote of New Hampshire, to Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and from Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, to Tennessee’s former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson and a host of names in between such as Florida’s Allen West and Jeb Bush, or South Dakota’s John Thune and Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.  In one scenario, even a Blue Dog Democrat, North Carolina’s Heath Shuler has been floated as a game changing decision for Romney. Polls about who most Republicans want Romney to pick vary based on the audiences that frequent those platforms offering such polls.  For instance, the conservative site Town Hall is probably seeing it’s far right readers choose dark horse contender Allen West, while other more libertarian geared sites might find that Rand Paul is the choice that it’s audience most wants to see selected by Romney.But when it comes to less partisan entities that happen to do professional polling and are therefore far more accurate at polling than those who conduct online opinion surveys , there is one name that keeps emerging as the favorite among voters —– Condoleezza Rice.

John Thune

A Rasmussen Reports poll that was conducted between July 15-16, found  that 65% of likely U.S. voters share at least a somewhat favorable view of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while just 24% view her unfavorably. Those results included 29% who have a Very Favorable opinion of Condi Rice and 6% who had a Very Unfavorable opinion of her. Twelve 12% were undecided in the poll.  (To see survey question wording, click here).  Other professional polling surveys have had similar results and for good reason.Condoleezza Rice is regarded as a very respectable, likeable, admirable leader.  She is also viewed by most voters as someone who is guided more by personal conviction and ideology than Party and partisan politics.  Such a persona could do nothing but help the G.O.P.  and hurt Democrats.  This is especially the case when you consider the fact that as both an African-American and a woman, Condi Rice does have the potential to make significant inroads into a base vote that President Obama needs to keep in his column and that Mitt Romney desperately needs to peel off and bring his way.  Furthermore; Condoleezza Rice can help Romney with the all important independent vote that will essentially determine who wins in November.Whether Romney agrees with that assessment or not is anyone’s guess but I will state this.  If he doesn’t agree with that opinion, he’s a dope.

Condoleezza Rice

While I like many of the potential candidates for Vice President, I believe that Condoleezza Rice is the one person  who can bring everything that Romney needs to the ticket.  And I mean everything.  Not only does she cover the electoral aesthetics of being a women and being African-American, her presence on the ticket adds a degree of historic value that can benefit Republicans much the same way it benefitted Democrats in 2012.  Add Rice’s ability to articulate conservatism and the traditional American values of independence, freedom, personal responsibility better than practically anyone else other than Allen West and what you have is a running mate who is an electoral goldmine.But it’s not just the electoral politics that makes Rice such a good choice for Romney.  It is her ability to be a great President that makes her not just a good choice, but also a potentially good President.  And afterall, is that not what a Vice President is suppose to be? Few politicians have the experience and knowhow that Condoleezza Rice has and few Vice Presidents would be more immediately prepared to assume the office of President at a moments notice as she.Still, there are three things that stand in the way of a Romney-Rice ticket.

One is the fact that Rice herself has not seen fit to show any interest in the job.  Yet despite the lack of interest, her recent penning of an inspiring editorial in the Financial Times raises some question as to exactly how disinterested the former Secretary of State is in getting her country back on track.  Problem number two is Rice’s stance on abortion.  Rice does not support banning abortion.  She does however strongly support placing many restrictions on how its practice.  While that position may be tolerated by some on the right, it will not be acceptable by others, especially those who are already doubtful about Mitt Romney’s own committment to the right-to-life cause.

Lastly is the political fear factor that Romney and his consultants may have regarding Condoleezza Rice’s ties to the Bush Administration.  They may fear that teaming Rice with Romney will provide Team Obama with an unintended campaign theme that links Romney to the not so popular former President.   While such political fears are worthy of considering, political reality should lead Romney to realize that Condoleezza Rice brings far more positives to the ticket than negatives.  And Team Romney should also realize that if the Obama campaign wants to revisit Condoleezza Rice’s record, they will be entering in to a very dangerous zone.  Rice will be able to defend her record and the Bush record better than anyone else and she will also be able to remind the American electorate that it is President Obama who essentially carried out her policies in Iraq and Afghanistan even though he and his Vice President ran against those policies in 2008.

All things considered, I believe Condoleezza Rice would be the best choice for Romney and while I would certainly be gleeful over the selection of someone like Marco Rubio or even the man whom I believe Romney will ultimately choose, South Dakota Senator John Thune, I can’t help but believe that only Condoleezza Rice can provide the momentum, gravitas, and appeal that Romney will really need if he wants to win the independents, and undecideds who will decide who the next President is.

What do you think?  Cast your vote for Vice President here.

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Chris Christie Introduces the Establishment’s Fear of Gingrich In To the Presidential Race

Bookmark and Share   In a Sunday morning interview with NBC’s David Gregory, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to be doing his best to help establishment Republicans remain in the driving seat.  The interview with Christie consisted of a discussion about the results of South Carolina’s primary, which saw Christie’s prefered choice for President, Mitt Romney,  lose to Newt Gingrich. According to Christie those primary results  will not make that much of difference as the nomination battle rages.  According to the New Jersey Governor, one of the reason for that is because Newt Gingrich has “embarrassed” the Republican Party, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney never has.  He went on to claim that the former speaker just didn’t have the experience needed to be President.

But Christie’s remarks were based less on truth and more on an immediate need for Chris Christie to do his job as a surrogate for Romney and out of need for self-preservation.

Following Romney’s devastating loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Christie is apparently grabbing for straws as he searches for anything that he can throw at Newt and make stick.  But why?  What is the real reason behind Christie’s vitriol?

It is a simple fact that the establishment, or status quo,  of any institution naturally tries to preserve itself.  So it is only logical that in politics, the establishment of any Party will try to do the same.  It is the main reason why change, true change, is hard to come by in politics.  In the case of establishment Republicans, Newt Gingrich is the one realistic candidate remaining in the Republican nomination contest, who represents real change and as such, the establishment wing of the Party is not compelled to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy.  Going with Gingrich would cause them to risk losing the traditional perks that the system grants to the political powerbrokers and as an idea based reformer, Newt is a threat to the process, a process which is stacked against change.

But another political reality that the establishment is facing is the bigger electoral picture in 2012.

Establishment Republicans want not only to maintain the status quo of the political process, they want to increase their sphere of influence of that process.  That control comes about by increasing the number of Republicans who are elected to office……all elected offices.

When it comes to Chris Christie, that electoral concern is largely the main reason he came out and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

While the focus right now is on the presidential race, in the next few months, elections for other offices will quickly consume some of that focus.  In 2012, control of the United States Senate is already beginning shape the presidential race and that is already playing out in New Jersey more than anywhere else in the nation.

Although there is little public interest in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, the top of the ticket will make all the difference between winning and losing for Republicans.

Incumbent liberal Senator Bob Menendez is up for reelection to his second full term in the Senate.  He was first appointed to fill the vacancy that was created by then Senator Jon Corzine, who in 2005, became Governor.  In 2006, Menendez was subsequently elected to his first full term in the Senate.

Currently, Menendez is in decent political standing among New Jersey voters.  According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 45% of state voters believe to be re-elected while 38% believe otherwise.  And he beats a generic, unnamed Republican candidate by as much as 11%.

Typically, incumbents are in trouble if their reelect number are under 50%, but this is New Jersey, a state that brought Frank Lautenberg back to life, out of retirement and back in to the Senate where he does little more than keep his senate seast warm while he nods off in it. However, while the opportunity to pick Menendez off will be an uphill battle, the possibility does exist.  And therein lies Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney for President.

In a state as blue as New Jersey, Mitt Romney can do relatively well.  While Newt Gingrich’s description of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate may work against Mitt in Peioria where conservatives can’t find anything too favorable about either Massachusetts or moderates, in Trenton, both are positive things which can only help Mitt among a Republican electorate which is generally slightly to the left of the national Party.   This becomes an even more important factor in New Jersey when it comes to defeating Bob Menendez.

Given Mitt’s perceived moderate image, he is expected to have much longer coattails than the more conservative, abrasive, hard-hitting, Southern Republican that is Newt Gingrich.  That conventional thinking is playing a critical role in New Jersey.

Although it is not official, Republicans are expected to nominate a longtime Republican State Senator by the name of Joe Kyrillos, for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat.  By New Jersey standards, Joe Kyrillos is considered a right of center Republican, but he is also the ultimate political insider.  In 1988 he became one of the state’s youngest members of the Assembly, where he served two consecutive terms and then promptly went to the State Senate where he remained since 1993.  Along the way, Kyrillos also spent some time as the state Party Chairman.

In addition to that, Joe Kyrillos happens to be a good friend of Chris Christie and served as Christie’s 2009  gubernatorial state campaign chairman.  Joe Kyrillos also coincidentally served as Mitt Romney’s presidential state campaign chairman in 2008.

This web of connections is all the evidence one needs to understand why Christie endorsed Romney and why he is now aggressively attacking Newt Gingrich.

But what Americans must begin to accept is that the circumstances which are forcing the establishment to rally around Mitt Romney in New Jersey are the same forces which will be forcing the establishment to rally around Romney and attack Newt Gingrich in many other states.   It is all being driven by self-preservation.  None of it is based on the issues, or reforms, or even beating Barack Obama.  It is based upon the establishment’s hope to maintain the status quo, something which can best be achieved by insuring that Mitt Romney defeats Newt Gingrich.

The good thing is that the establishment is not in good graces with a vast majority of the electorate that has taken on very anti-establishment attitudes.  This is one reason why despite the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Romney lost to the anti-establishment candidate, Newt Gingrich.  In fact, to a large degree, the more incumbents that endorse Mitt Romney, the more the anti-establishment opposes Mitt Romney and supports  Newt Gingrich.

While those circumstances won’t help Newt Gingrich very much in a state like New Jersey, it will help him and the Republican tickets in a many other critical states.

Unlike Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has the ability to tap into the anti-esatblishment sentiments that swept Republicans in to power in the House by historic proportions during the 2010 midterm elections.  That anti-establisment energy is minimal in New Jersey, where in 2011, state legislative elections did not produce any gains for New Jersey Republicans.

In 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans need to hold on to the 10 Republican Senate seats that are up for reelection and pick of 4 of the 23 Democrat seats that up for election.  At the moment Republican’s chances for success at taking the majority of senate seats are quite good.  So much so that it is even realistic to consider the chance that Republicans can actually pick up the 13 senate seats that would be required to meet the magic number of a filibuster proof 60 seat majority.

But in order for the G.O.P. to do either, a strong Republican ticket will be required.  The question is who will account for the strongest ticket?

The establishment assumes that a moderate candidate like Romney will do just that.  However; I am of the belief that a more radical, anti-establishment candidate will provide the strongest ticket and in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin, tapping in to the same TEA Party-like energy that accounted for dozens of new Republicans getting elected to the House, will find that the chance to pick up each of the Democrat Senate seats up for grabs in those states will be enhanced by the “say no to the status quo” style of Newt Gingrich, far more than the “go along to get along style” of the “Massachusetts moderate”,  Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, in a state like New Jersey, where Chris Christie is hoping that his friend Joe Kyrillos can unseat Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, I am afraid that such a goal will be impossible regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, at least not with Joe Kyrillos as the standard bearer.

So what it comes down to is this.  Will Republicans be better off defending the status quo, or will they be better off staying the course that increased their numbers in 2010, when opposing the status quo proved to be the key to victory?

I believe I know the answer.  That is why I endorsed Newt Gingrich for President long ago.  Unfortunately Governor Christie does not agree.  Quite disappointingly, he is playing the role of political insider and pursing political self-preservation over proper public policy concerns.  And it is why he has chosen to go after Newt with guns blazing.

In his attempts to disqualify Newt Gingrich, he told NBC’s David Gregory that he thinks;

“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time“, and explains “whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has.” 

Christie added;

“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethic violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the Party.”

The saddest thing about those comments is Christie’s blatant attempt to support his political opinion with lies.

While it is true that Newt has never really taken the easy way out by simply  playing the political game in order to hold on to power, Christie is actually lying when he continues to promote the myth that Newt was fined $300, ooo.  The truth is that Newt paid for the investigation into one of 84 false accusation that his political opponents tried to burden Newt with.  In the end, all of the accusations were dismissed, but Newt was still stuck with a bill for the investigation of one charge which found that his lawyers had filed papers erroneously.

But Christie’s attempt to play the role of political hitman causes him to ignore these facts and that is quite disappointing.

Up to now, Chris Christie has been an impressive, hold no punches, play no games leader.  But apparently even he is not immune from the game of politics when it concerns his the interests of the status quo and his insider buddies.

Meanwhile, even though Newt may not be “safe” choice for the republican presidential nomination, he is the bold choice and I am willing to take bold new leadership over insider politics and tired old political games.  I want republicans to win and achieve real change, not to win and simply maintain the system that needs to be reformed.

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The Mistake That is Iowa: Santorum Beats Romney………Maybe

Bookmark and Share   Up to now, Iowa’s erroneous Caucus results created a narrative that allowed Mitt Romney to be the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to win both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.  The distinction really did not mean much.  Both New Hampshire and Iowa award delegates on a proportional basis and neither actually determine who the nominee is.  However the public perception of two seeming back to back victories for Mitt Romney had a profound effect on the perception shaping the ongoing nomination contests.  Romney’s strong showing and one time 8 vote victory in Iowa along with his landslide win in New Hampshire, helped to establish him, at least psychologically, as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.  In turn, that perception gave Mitt a leg up on his opponents by denying them, at least some  momentum and money.

Now it comes out that in an attempt to certify the Iowa Caucus results,  there are 34  more votes for Rick Santorum than Mitt Romney which can be accounted for.

The problem is that there is unknown number of votes from 8 different voting precincts which can’t be accounted for.

This has forced the Iowa G.O.P. to formally declare the Caucus a virtual tie between Romney and Santorum.

However, in his never ending attempt to capitalize on what his undeniably overwhelming finish in Iowa, Rick Santorum is focussing in on the the votes which can be accounted for and give him a technical victory in the Hawkeye State.  Upon the newly unofficial certification of the election results, Santorum released the following email to supporters;

As I stated, between the closeness of the Iowa Caucus and the proportional basis which Iowa awards delegates, makes who won by a handful of votes not very important.  And seeing as how Santorum achieved such a close result by spending hardly any money in the state and still going from the bottom of the pack to the front of the field, Santorum was the real winner regardless of who technically won.  But the perceptions created by the mishandling of the caucus results did have an undue, albeit minimal effect on history and the early stages of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

That fact makes it clear that there was one real big, undeniable, loser here.  it was the Iowa State Republican Party.

Their inability to properly oversee the most basic aspect of our democratic process is a embarrassing blemish that makes one wonder how much we should rely upon their Party Caucus when it comes to selecting a presidential nominee.  If these people can’t even count accurately, I am not too confident in their ability to pick presidents.

Perhaps Jon Huntsman was right when he said that Iowa picks corn while other states pick Presidents.

No matter what, this tabulating error was an inauspicious way to kick off the 2012 presidential election cycle and conjures up fears of another chad-ridden, presidential election in 2000, a repeat of which our troubled nation truly does not need.

Thanks Iowa.

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The Impact of Perry’s Decision to Suspends His Campaign and Endorse Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   In what was probably the most sincere and eloquent speech of his 5 month long race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he was suspending his campaign and endorsing the candidacy of Newt Gingrich for President.  The decision which came in advance of what was an inevitable, single digit, last place showing in this Saturday’s  South Carolina Primary was not totally unexpected, but both its timing and the endorsement that came with it were.

In recent days it became clear that despite an endorsement of Rick Santorum by over 150 evangelical leaders, the evangelical base and conservative base of the G.O.P. was not coalescing around Santorum and continued to see both blocs dividing their vote between Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum.  At the same time, while Santorum seemed to be losing steam among those voting blocs, Newt was gaining momentum among them.  So much so that he even suggested that if Perry and Santorum really cared about the conservative cause, the two of them would drop out and get behind him.

Rick Perry apparently agreed and in his announcement, he issued a subtle call to arms for conservatives to indeed get behind Gingrich.

According to Perry, Gingrich is a “conservative visionary” and in a clear attempt to blunt the blow from an anticipated ABC News interview with Newt’s ex-wife Marianne, Perry stated;

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?” 

He added;

“The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith.”

The latter remarks will probably have more of a positive impact on Gingrich’s candidacy than Perry’s actual endorsement.

Some recent polls indicate that Perry only has the support of 2% of South Carolina primary voters and while not all of those supporters will simply flock to Newt because of Perry’s decision to support him, Perry’s words about redemption will resonate quite well among the broader base of evangelical voters at large in South Carolina.  Those words will go a long way in helping many of those undecided evangelicals to break for Newt rather than Santorum.

To a great degree, Perry’s decisions to suspend his campaign and endorse Newt Gingrich are less important than the timing of those decisions.

Before the day was less than half over, Perry’s announcement blurred the focus of two other headline grabbing bits of news that had it not been for the distraction of Perry’s announcement would have captured the headlines and all the attention.

The first was the continued leaking of the ABC News interview with Newt’s ex-wife, who described her revelations as career ending for the former Speaker.  The other news was the declaration by the Iowa State Republican Party to “unofficially” certify Rick Santorum as the actually winner in that state’s caucus.  Even though a recount has given Santorum 34 more than Mitt Romney the Party oficially ruled the caucus a virtual tie between Santorum and Romney.  The unusual ruling was based upon the fact that the results from 8 different precincts are missing.

The glitch allowed Santorum to technically declare himself the winner and give him the hope of changing the narrative that has until now, dominated the Republican nomination caucus, a narrative which made Mitt Romney the clear frontrunner as the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Given the few votes that separated Santorum from Romney in Iowa, and the fact that there are votes missing, Santorum would have already had a difficult time trying to change the existing perceptions about Romney’s electoral strength, but Governor Perry made it practically impossible for Santorum to do after he quickly replaced the Iowa Caucus headline with his own about the end of campaign and endorsement of Gingrich.

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Chris Christie Shoring Up His Value as a Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share    In advance of the delivery of his second State of the State address, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie’s team has released a new web ad that credits him for having begun to turn the Garden State around.

It’s the type of stuff, that fits in well with any campaign’s desire to tap in to a similar theme for the nation and its economy, which much like New Jersey, is in desperate need of a comeback.  This is not to say that the ad is meant to establish the groundwork for a Chris Christie vice presidency.  Afterall, regardless of national politics, Chris Christie does need to make sure that his image in New Jersey remains one that will be worthy of reelection come 2013.

Either way, the web ad helps promote an image of Christie that can’t hurt either his chances for being picked as a vice presidential running mate or for eventually being reelected Governor.

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Time to Stand

Bookmark and Share    One of the greatest problems plaguing the political scene is cowardice. More particularly it is ideological cowardice. It is an admitted fact that candidates run to the fringe during primaries and then run to the center for the general election. That is considered good politics. Unfortunately, it makes for bad government.

The level of disgust with our elected government is astonishing. If it were just political partisanship, we could expect that approval ratings would be somewhere around 50%. Yet that is not the case. Approval ratings have dropped into the single digits numerous times for Congress and into the 30s for Presidents. Clearly the people are disappointed even in their own party’s elected officials.

The reason is simple. Politicians are cowards. They are for something one second and against it the next. Recently we’ve seen an uptick in the “I’m for it, but not for how it is being done” or “These are special circumstances that require measures I wouldn’t normally support.” They are two different ways of saying, “I don’t want to look like a flip-flopper but I want to be on the side of political expediency.” It is as if almost our entire elected government has become filled with Arlen Specter clones.

It is difficult to find a candidate that you can really believe will do what he or she claims. It is difficult to find a candidate that consistently speaks from an ideological foundation that is firm. The one thing all our “greatest” Presidents had in common was their willingness to stick to their principles and govern as they promised. Granted there were some Presidents who were equally consistent and failed, but at least the people knew what they were getting and they could decide whether or not to support those men. Today we treat ‘political conversion’ or ‘position adjustment’ as some sort of normal behavior.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. Is it normal to convert from Catholicism to Islam and then again to Lutheran? Such a thing would be considered absurd. But how are ‘political conversions’ any different? Sure, decades ago someone might go from Democrat to Republican because the parties themselves were transformed – BUT the reason for the change in party affiliation was based on a desire to be in the party that represented that person’s UNCHANGED positions on issues. Such changes are more like a member of the Episcopal Church becoming a Lutheran because that person did not support changes in the Episcopal Church doctrine (such as ordaining gay clergy). The person’s beliefs never changed, but the group to which he belonged changed in a way that was incompatible with those beliefs. That is not what is happening in politics today.

What we have today are people who are claiming to have changed their beliefs or to have found exceptions to their beliefs. That’s like a man saying he’s straight, but another guy at the gym was unusually attractive and in that extraordinary circumstance it made sense to have gay sex. Be it abortion or government bailouts or foreign affairs, it seems that ‘anything goes’ is the new normal. Whatever the political winds of that day happen to be, so too are that candidate’s “convictions”. It is disgraceful.

What will a candidate do if elected? Who knows? Maybe their record will shed some light on that and maybe it won’t. Maybe their previous positions will shed some light on that and maybe they won’t. It all depends on which parts of those they agree with today and which ones they see as ‘mistakes I’ve learned from’. Of course, today’s convictions may be tomorrow’s ‘mistakes I learned from’.

These ideological void candidates are not the only problem. We, the people, are equally to blame. We are cowards ourselves when we fear our beliefs might bring us criticism. We allow critics of our beliefs to bully us into silence about them rather than be labeled ‘extremists’. We end up supporting a candidate based not on what they truly believe and whether that matches our beliefs, but rather on who we dislike least of those ‘who can win’. We sell ourselves out first and then are upset when the person we supported does the same thing. We feel betrayed that the candidate that didn’t really share our views governs in a way that is contrary to our views instead of in the way promised during a campaign.

I have been one of those cowards this year. I have strong ideological beliefs. Yet, I refused to support the candidate that most reflects those views because I didn’t think he could win. I bought into the lie that we should support the one who can win over the one who is right. I took the side of those who refused to support Goldwater in ’64 and Reagan in ’76. I tried, in vain, to find another candidate who could serve as a ‘good enough’ choice and that ‘could win’ according to the pundits. I was an ideological coward.

Today that changes. Today I set aside my indecision between candidates I don’t really agree with who pundits say can win and throw my support behind the candidate with whom I am in the most ideological agreement. Maybe he can’t win the nomination. If he doesn’t, then I’ll support who does as any of them are better than Obama. But, this is my vote. This is my party. This is my ideology.

My endorsement for the 2012 Republican Nomination goes to Congressman Ron Paul.
Congressman Ron Paul

I fully recognize Ron Paul’s limitations. He has never been a chief executive. He’s not supported by the leadership of his party. He’s not a great speaker. His foreign policy scares the establishment. All those things were said about Barry Goldwater in 1964 but history proved that he would have been far better than what we got. His campaign sparked a movement that eventually brought us Ronald Reagan and the Republican Revolution of 1994.

We live in a different world than in the days of Reagan. An evil empire is not our chief concern and primary security risk. Today we face isolated terrorist cells around the world and the threat of economic destruction through control of energy, currency manipulation and cyber attack. Our national debt is greater than our GDP and our economy is built upon pushing money around more than actually creating anything of real value. Our entitlement system has grown so precariously huge that it threatens to bankrupt us within the foreseeable future.

There is only one candidate who sees that these issues are the greatest threats facing us. There is only one candidate who will use the power of the Presidency to force real cuts in spending and not just in the rate of spending growth. There is only one candidate who will rethink the old Cold War era military thinking and re-position us for responding to the threats of the 21st century. There is only one candidate who has been ideologically consistent for decades and who has correctly predicted the problems we are faced with today. There is only one candidate who won’t be corrupted by polls or pundits or lobbyists. There is only one candidate who believes more in governing within the confines of the Constitution than in finding excuses to circumvent it. There is only one candidate who put his life on the line for his country. There is only one candidate for me.

That candidate is Ron Paul and he has my endorsement and support.

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Second Thoughts: Newt Goes Over the Edge with “King of Bain”

Bookmark and Share   I endorsed Newt Gingrich.  This came about after Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan, all refused to run for President.   Clearly, Newt was not my first choice but for reasons that I outlined in my endorsement, I preferred him to the other choices that were available.    I still stand by my reasoning but Newt’s newest strategy has me regretting my choice.

I am generally a little forgiving.  I understand that no candidate is perfect and that each candidate is only human.  So I excused Newt’s poor judgment back in 2009 when he endorsed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a special election for Congress in New York State.  I forgave Newt for his mangling of language which seemed like he was opposing Paul Ryan’s budget proposals.  I instead chose to see the promise that existed in Newt’s reform minded, conservative based, solutions and ideas, and his record of anti-establishment thinking and significant accomplishments.  I felt that all that he could deliver was worth the extra effort it would take to try to elect a candidate with as much baggage as him.  A part of me still feels that way.

But since Newt lost Iowa, he has put his baggage in the front seat and his solutions in the trunk.  Meanwhile, the car he is driving has four tires that have been flattened by all the stones that he has been throwing on the rocky road he has taken his campaign down.

Understandably angered by several weeks and $8 million worth of attack ads against him that were sponsored mainly by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, Newt has decided to take the low road that he once adamantly refused to take.  Now, instead of building himself up and focussing on the issues that could use his help, Newt is focussed more on revenge than revitalizing America.  That I cannot endorse.

Newt’s latest strategy is designed to use capitalism in the same ugly sense that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the term Kapitlaist in The Communist Manifesto.  He is trying to blur the lines between free market capitalism and human greed in a way that ignores the whole picture in an attempt to create a false impression.   In the case of Newt Gingrich, to create a false impression of Mitt Romney.

When Newt initially launched this line of attack, I was not offended.  I found his carefully chosen words explaining how he was not denying the natural dynamics of winners and losers in the free market, to be quite palatable.  Newt explained that he has long been a proponent of the type survival of the fittest competition in the free market that increases quality and cost effectiveness of goods and services. Newt made it clear that his problem was that he felt Mitt Romney abused the system and that he sought to take advantage of people through the system, not of the system with the people.

My willingness to listen to Newt’s unique conservative line of attack intrigued me.  So I was willing to listen.  I wondered if we were seeing a true genius at work as he gave birth to a new ideological spin based on compassionate capitalism or caring capitalists, the type of thinking and approach that could undermine President Obama’s attempts to demonize capitalism as a mean spirited, greed driven excuse for taking advantage of the down trodden.   So instead of jumping down Newt’s throat, I gave him 36 hours to prove to me that he was on to something.   I know that if anyone can properly articulate the virtues of capitalism and the opportunity for self help that it provides to those who value liberty, it was Newt.

Then quite sadly I watched the 28 minute film that a pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning Out Future, bought and has decided to market.  [see the movie below this post]

The film is all about how Mitt Romney destroyed the lives of thousands of people whose businesses were ultimately closed because of Romney’s venture capitalism company, Bain Capital.  As I watched the film, I could not help but feel as though I was watching an old Soviet style propaganda film aimed at grade school communists.  I expected Eugene Debs to make an appearance and for Upton Sinclair to pop up and deliver a PSA for EPIC.

Then I remembered how just two days ago, Newt ran around and in interview after interview, urged people to be sure to see this anti-Romney film that Gingrich supporters were going to soon make available to the public.  Recollection of that endorsement of the propaganda film before me triggered a true sense of anger in me over Newt and great  disappointment in him too.  These emotions were only intensified as I began to  see the extent to which this anti-Romney film was actually lying about the Romney record.

In one instance, Romney is caught saying, “for an economy to thrive, there are a lot of people who will suffer as a result of that.”   But the hit piece doesn’t include the rest of Romney’s  comment which went on to say; “It’s important for us as a society to find ways to help people be able to move through this process of losing a job in one industry that becomes outmoded, and finding a position in a new type of industry that is growing.”

The irony here is that just yesterday, Newt Gingrich rushed to Mitt Romney’s defense and chastised Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and the DNC for taking Romney out of context and running with a quote claiming that Romney likes to fire people.  Of course the complete phrase was an inference to his liking the ability to fire insurance companies who aren’t providing proper services, but when taken out of context, you would never know what Romney meant, except for what you are allowed to hear…..”I like to fire people”.   So here is Newt attacking others for taking Mitt out context one day, and then pinning his entire campaign on a film that does nothing but take Mitt Romney totally out of context the next day.  That to me is a sign of hypocrisy, desperation, and instability.  Such qualities are not what I want in a president. Besides, we already have a President who possesses such characteristics.  So who needs another one.

Other lies in the anti-Romney docu-drama are outlined quite well in a piece by Bloomberg News.

This entire Newt endorsed film is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to play on our inherent sensitivities through half truths, and outright lies.  In the end, this film could have easily been produced by Keith Olbermann  for Al Gore’s new cable station Current.  It is nothing but a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz authored, DNC talking point memo and for Newt Gingrich to associate himself with this shameless example of politics at at its worst, is demeaning and an unflaterring sign of a man who is desperate and who has lost sight of the greater mission which he set out to serve when he first began his campaign for President.

On several occasions, I aggressively denounced Ron Paul for what I called his scorched earth campaign strategy that seeks to destroy the candidacies of his Republicans opponents through a slew of highly negative ads, that will only come back to haunt us in November.  Now I am forced to ask myself,  how can I not denounce Newt Gingrich for doing the same that Ron Paul did.  If I still have any sincerity left in me after 23 years of political involvement, I must.

So here I go.

I am denouncing Newt Gingrich for his tactics and asking that he admit he has gone too far.  He needs to admit that he lost sight of the real reasons behind his presidential candidacy and became so consumed by his desire to exact revenge upon Mitt Romney that he betrayed his own initial desire to run a forward looking campaign based on solutions not slander.

As for myself, I am now in the uncomfortable position of having to defend my endorsement of Newt Gingrich.  That is not a position any supporter should be placed in.  I don’t mind defending the candidate I support, but when I have to find good reason to defend my own reasons for giving that support to a candidate, that candidate’s campaign is over.    I just hope that Newt realizes that sooner rather than later.

 

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Dixville Notch Opens the New Hampshire Primary With a Win for Romney and Huntsman

Bookmark and Share   With all the pomp and circumstance and meaning of Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire has seen their first in the nation primary begin with the first voting in the state out of Dixville Notch.

Out of the 9 voters in the small town, 4 are Independent, 3 are Republican, and 2 are Democrats.  As is expected, most of the the Independent voters chose to vote in the Republican Primary and so out of the 6 votes cast in that contest, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied with 2 votes each.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each received 1 vote.

On the Democratic side, President Obama won in a landslide, receiving all 2 of the registered Democrat voters and 1 Independent voter Dixville Notch.

Historically, Dixville Notch is about as good an indicator of voter sentiments in New Hampshire as Ron Paul is an example of responsible national security…………not at all.  But it is a good example of civic responsibility and participation in the democratic process and that is what’s it all about.  I would still have prefered that Independents were not allowed to influence the selection of who represents my Party but I am nonetheless glad to see that an end to the News Hampshire primary is in sight.  And short of a very unlikely surprise result in the Granite State, I am looking forward to the days leading up to the South Carolina Primary, a state primary contes twhich promises to provide a true proving ground for Mitt Romney and a real opportunity for any of his rivals who are still in the race after New Hampshire.

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New Mitt Romney Ad Reinforces Why He is Still the Likely Nominee

Bookmark and Share   As the center of the political universe moves to New Hampshire, all of Mitt Romney’s rivals are primarily looking to do one thing there on the night of their presidential primary………….not come in last.

For Rick Santorum, the hope is to surge past Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and maybe land a sizeable second place finish.  At the moment, it is quite possible.

Newt Gingrich is hoping to do the same and for him that is also a very realistic goal.

Ron Paul, well Ron Paul is Ron Paul and all he can really do to matter is to beat Mitt Romney.  If he did that, he will grab the headlines within the  mainstream media who will claim the G.O.P. is in  utter turmoil and run with stories about the predicament that Ron Paul creates for Republicans.  But Paul’s chances at beating Romney in New Hampshire are nill, so that is not a realistic expectation.

Rick Perry simply hopes to finish ahead of Buddy Roemer and Fred Karger so that he does not go in to South Carolina as a totally lost cause.

The wildcard in New Hampshire is Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman has pinned all his hopes and invested all his limited resources in the Granite State in an effort to stun the political world by beating Mitt Romney in his own backyard and becoming the next Santorum as the nomination contest moves forward.  The problem is Jon Huntsman is not stunning and although a second place showing in New Hampshire is not impossible, anything less than a second place finish will disqualify Huntsman when it comes to being competitive in any future primary contests.

And while all the candidates are forced to invest at least some time and money in New Hampshire to achieve theirmost minimal of goals, Mitt Romney is already working South Carolina.

The other candidates are not ignoring South Carolina.  They all know that the Palmetto State will be pivotal and in many cases, their last stand.  However, with the need to set themselves up for South Carolina, they still have to dedicate most of their time and money on the immediate contest in New Hampshire.  Yet Mitt Romney has both a wide enough lead and the financial resources needed to work New Hampshire and South Carolina at the same time.

Hence his latest ad [see ad below this post].

In it,  Mitt Romney talks from a factory floor and changes to a shot of a Boeing  plant, a jet engine and a 787 Dreamliner that Boeing is building in South Carolina and Washington state.  All the while, Romney is heard accusing President Barack Obama of adopting policies that “affect our economy based not upon what’s right for the American worker but, instead, what’s right for their politics” and he charges that the board is stacked with “union stooges.”

The ad demonstrates how well positioned Mitt Romney is to become the Republican presidential nominee.  While all the other candidates are facing do or die conditions, Romney continues to have the advantage of multiple opportunities to sustain frontrunner status. It should also be noted that it was a wise strategic decision by the Romney campaign to run this type of ad in South Carolina.  It does not mention any of his opponents and shapes the race as one that is bewtween him and President Obama, not a fellow Republican.  But the most tellin g about the ad is still how indicative it is of Romney’s place in the catbird seat.

All of this could of course change in a heartbeat.

Conservatives could decide to unite behind either Santorum, Gingrich, or Perry.  Romney could stumble and fall, or both things could happen simultaneously.  But regardless of what “could” happen, there is no denying that Mitt Romney has the best cards in his hands.  His problem is that he is still failing to convince conservatives that he is not bluffing and really is the conservative holding a full house in  his hands.  If he plays his cards right, he will win just enough of them over in South Carolina to create the sense of inevitability that will force his opposition out of the race.

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Mitt Romney Personally Thanks the 8 Voters Who Put Him Over the Top in Iowa

Bookmark and Share   Thanks to Jimmy Fallon for this one

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New Gingrich Ad Pits the Timid “Massachusetts Moderate” Against the “Bold Reagan Conservative”

Bookmark and Share    That’s how former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is shaping the race and a new ad of his frames that comparison between himself and Mitt Romney. [see the ad below this post]

It is Newt Gingrich’s version of a negative ad and many may now jump on Newt to claim that he was the one candidate who promised not to go negative.  But the truth is that s far as negative ads go, Newt’s new 30 second commercial is hardly an attack ad.  It is a comparison of ideological approaches and conservative accomplishments that raises the question, who is more capable of advancing a conservative agenda in government?

Furthermore you will note the ads lack of references to Mitt’s personal life or attempts to characterize Mitt Romney as evil or incompetent. Newt’s ad simply asks Republicans if they want to try to preserve our nation’s future with a timid conservative agenda or proven, bold conservative leadership.  In fact, the toughest line of attack that Newt is now using against Romney is his now standard reference to Mitt as a “Massachusetts Moderate”.   Gingrich could really bitter and use the “L” word, but he doesn’t.  Instead, he wisely combines the words “Massachusetts” and “moderate”, knowing full well that when put together most people automatically think of the “L” word and get the inference to Romney being a liberal, but without ever saying it.  Besides, Newt’s decision to use Mitt’s record to paint him as a candidate who is “to the left of most Republicans”  seems much more believable and legitimate than trying to argue that Mitt Romney is a liberal. And in the end, if Romney does become the nominee, what’s the worst Newt can be accused of calling Romney………. a “moderate”.  In the general election, that will only be to Mitt’s advantage

The promotional piece is actually more of a fair comparison than an attack ad and it presents the case for Newt convincingly and politely.

For me the ad also offers a sense relief.

When it was determined that Newt placed fourth place in the Iowa Caucus, he addressed supporters and showed sign of disappointment and even anger, anger over the more than $8 million dollars in negative ads that saw his one time high of 31% in Iowa fall to slightly more than 13%.  His speech also seemed to focus much of that anger on Mitt Romney who along with a pro Romney Super PAC were responsible for most of those attack ads.    Newt’s demeanor and words left me fearing that he was about to lose sight of the bigger picture and simply focus on exacting a degree of revenge on Mitt Romney that would end up being mutually detrimental.

But as it turns out, Newt is apparently being true to his word that he will not resort to negative attacks but will offer honest comparisons.  And as long as Newt continues to conduct himself in this manner, I am confident that under the current circumstances, the strategy he is moving forward with is the only smart way to go.

Newt could turn his attention to Rick Santorum, the newest Phoenix in the Republican presidential field,  but with the limited money Gingrich has available to him and given the unlikely chance of anyone, including Rick Santorum, beating Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, it is only logical that Newt remain focussed on Romney.  While Republicans have not yet totally determined who the best alternative to Romney is, it is understood that Romney is the man to beat.  So right now the best thing Newt can do is offer evidence of his being a more reliable conservative than Romney and hope that Romney chips away at Rick Santorum in an attempt to prevent him from gaining any more momentum than Santorum already did with the split decision in Iowa.

If that scenario plays out, Newt could survive New Hampshire to a degree that will give him a final chance to prove that he is the conservative with the best chance of beating Romney.

That will leave Republicans with responsibility of having to decide which is more important…….beating Mitt Romney or beating Newt Gingrich.

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Groundhog Day Came to Iowa Early and Rick Santorum Saw His Shadow

Bookmark and Share   Iowa proved to be an incredibly dramatic opening contests for the Republican presidential nomination that even included the added suspense of missing and improperly recorded vote totals.  But by 2:30 in the morning, all was resolved and the results gave Mitt Romney a 8 vote victory.  The closeness of the race did not help Mitt Romney but it certainly helped Rick Santorum, the candidate who came from so far behind and so close to defeating Romney, that in the end Iowa really goes down in the books as more of a near loss for Romney than a real win.  And it was the incredible closeness of the race that changed everything, at least in the short term.

Several days prior to the Caucus, I correctly predicted the order in which the candidates would finish.  So the fact that Santorum finished second should not have been a total surprise.  But the fact that he came within 5 votes of winning is what changed everything.  As a result, contrary to other predictions, Iowa wound up mattering more than many expected, including myself. Exactly how much more though is up to Rick Santorum.

In addition to ending Michele Bachmann’s campaign and giving movement conservatives a chance to divide their vote up among fewer candidates, Iowa shifted the focus on to a new contender…..Rick Santorum.  But how much that matters depends upon Rick Santorum’s ability to capitalize on his new found fame.  If he fails to come out of New Hampshire and South Carolina stronger than he was going in to them, then Iowa’s impact on the nomination will prove to have been minimal.

The one thing we do know is that the strong showing they provided Rick Santorum with was a political version of Groundhog Day……not the movie, but the actual holiday.  Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, emerged from Iowa much like Punxsutawney  Phil, the famed Pennsylvania groundhog who the nation watches as he emerges from his burrow.  If he sees his shadow, it is said  to indicate that winter weather will last longer than we may want.  In Rick Santrorum’s case, his come from behind split decision in Iowa has cast a shadow on the Republican race which means that this nomination contest remains contested and will probably do so far longer than Republicans would like.

That situation was arrived at due to both Romney and Santorum.

In addition to running a strong campaign that was waged on principle, persistence, and elbow grease, Santorum never became the type of target that everyone who surged to the top found themselves to become. This helped him win voters over and keep them in his column.  Had Santorum surged to the top like Newt Gingrich did weeks before voting began, he probably would have fallen victim to the same circumstances of those before him and now he will have a hard time proving that he can withstand such scrutiny.

As for Romney, although he technically won, to really win, he needed to stun Republicans with a strong first place finish with 30 or more percent of the vote.  That would have changed the entire storyline coming out of Iowa.  Instead of Rick Santorum being the main focus of the results, the real headline would have been that Mitt Romney finally exceeded the 25% ceiling of support that has become his greatest hurdle.  And he would have done so in a state where he was hardly considered a favorite.  Instead, not only did Romney almost lose to someone who was in the single digits a week before the caucuses, he actually won with 6 votes less than he received in 2008 when he came in second to Mike Huckabee.  In 2008, Romney received 25.19% of the Iowa Caucus vote, just about the same as he did this time, but the raw total was 30,021 votes.  In yesterday’ s caucus Romney won with 30, 015 votes.

Given that this was Romney’s second time around and he actually lost support, last night was really  not a win for him.  In the end, all that Iowa did for Romney was confirm that Republicans are still not excited about him and would like a better candidate.

So the race goes on and Romney is poised to become the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to ‘technically’ win Iowa and New Hampshire.  The problem is that between the reality of his poor showing in Iowa relative to Rick Santorum’s near defeat of him, and  Romney’s win in new Hampshire being considered a given, those victories may not provide Mitt with the momentum he needs to assure himself of a win in South Carolina where Mitt may find himself either in his last stand or finally on course to winning the nomination.

Newt Gingrich, who currently leads in New Hampshire has been trying to build a firewall in South Carolina in the hope of finally establishing himself as the alternative to Romney.  And Newt is looking for a fight with Mitt and is ready to provide him with some payback for all the negative ads that he believes Romney is behind.

Then there is Rick Perry.

Perry had time to sleep on his fifth place finish in Iowa and while he headed to bed with thoughts of ending his campaign dancing in his head, he woke up ready to fight and even Tweeted a battle cry that declared he is moving on to the Palmetto State.

And not to be Rick-rolled will be the other Rick, Rick Santorum, the new great conservative hope.

If Santorum can run strong enough in South Carolina to prevent Perry and Gingrich from getting out of the single digits or mid teens, at least one of the two will drop out and give Santorum the opportunity to bring their numbers in to his vote totals in the Florida primary which immediately follows South Carolina.

As for Ron Paul, given how far out of the mainstream his national security policies are and given his lack of  legislative accomplishments in almost two decades in Congress, in order for him to have a major impact on future primary nomination contests, he needed a big win in Iowa.  Add to that the buzz about polls which showed him actually in first place over the course of the weekend prior to the Caucus, and what you have is a candidate who failed to live up to expectations, and failed to meet a level of support that would have helped him overcome his perceived electability problems.  Although Ron Paul ran well and his strong showing can not be denied, it was not strong enough to help him gain the type of traction that he needs.   As a result, Ron Paul’s 22% percent in Iowa was probably his high watermark and from here on out, while he will remain a presence in the race, his impact on it will be about as significant as it was in his previous two runs for President.

Meanwhile the immediate effects of Iowa are apparent.

Since last night, interest in Santorum reached such heights that his website crashed and he collected $1 million in donations.   That is a good indication of just how his strong showing in Iowa has indeed provided him with the opportunity to become the real viable alternative to Romney that many have been looking for.

Another good sign for Santorum is that several national evangelical leaders have decided to get together and determine which of the remaining candidates they can all get behind in an attempt to be certain that Romney is denied the Republican nomination.  Given the circumstances, at the moment, Santorum would seem to be the most likely beneficiary of such an alliance.

At the moment I am not sure what will happen.  I have a feeling that while Rick Santorum may now be considered the Great Conservative Hope, he will ultimately be like another great hope……Duane Bobick, the 197o’s boxing star who was jokingly refered to as the “Great White Hope”.   Back in 1977, the biggest sporting event of the year became a much anticipated match between Bobick and future legend Ken Norton.  Bobick had a a 38-0 record with 32 KO’s and when he entered the ring with Norton, millions were anticipating an epic fight between two extraordinary athletes.   Less than 40 seconds in to the first round, Norton landed  an overhand right to Bobick’s throat and after just one minute into the fight Bobick was counted out.  A large part of me believes that this is Romney’s nomination and that Santorum will be the Duane Bobick of presidential politics.

Romney is still best poised to lock up the nomination soon after Florida.  However; if the inevitability of a Romney candidacy becomes so obvious, and triggers the far right base of the G.O.P. to finally unite behind one candidate in an attempt to stop Romney, this could be either a long, drawn out battle or a quick turning of the tables.  My biggest fear is that if conservatives really can not accept Mitt Romney and do not settle on who his one opponent should be, we could just find ourselves with the first brokered convention since 1976.

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Bachmann’s Presidential TEA Party is Over

  Bookmark and Share    After canceling a planned campaign swing to South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann scheduled a press conference in which she announced that she was suspending her campaign.

Bachmann who won the Ames Straw Poll several months ago, lost the state in it’s first in the nation caucus to all of her rivals except for one, Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who did not campaign in Iowa.

Bachmann began the announcement to suspend her campaign by discussing the great responsibility to defend our republic is and explained that she decided to take responsibility by running for President and that her decision was made on the day that Obamacare was passed.  She described Obamacare as one of the greatest threat to the very foundation of our Republic and that its repeal is her greatest goal.

She promised to consider to fight against President Obama’s socialist agenda, as well as capital cronyism, family, life, and religious liberty.

But Bachmann said that on Tuesday, the people of Iowa spoke loudly and as now she will step aside and support the Republican whom we must all unite behind in order to defeat Barack Obama in November.

What Bachmann did not do is throw her support behind any particular candidate yet.  However her departure from the presidential race begins to cut down on a critical factor behind Mitt Romney’s success in the Republican contest.  With her in  the race, Bachmann helped divide the social conservative voting bloc among at least 4 candidates.  That dilution of the vote helped Romney hammer together his frontrunner status.  But now with her out, a candidate like Rick Santorum who essentially tied with Mitt Romney in Iowa, may benefit the most as he begins to become the candidate that social conservatives begin to coalesce around.

While Bachmann may not immediately throw her support behind a single candidate right now, her own future will probably consist of her filing the paperwork that will make her a candidate for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat.

While a  prospective Republican candidate to replace Bachmann in the House did step forward, Bachmann supporters and the Minnesota G.O.P. have largely been anticipating a Bachmann reelection effort.  According to the deadlines established on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, the filing deadline for Bachmann is May 5, 2012, a date that gave Bachmann plenty of time to pursue her presidential ambitions and still file her candidacy for reelection to Congress if that pursuit failed.  That scenario was predicted by White House 2012 back in October of 2011.

Last night it became clear to Bachmann that her pursuit for the White House did fail, but you can rest assured that Bachmann will not fail the conservative cause as she moves forward.  While her campaign may not have been a been a big success from a strategic standpoint, she performed valiantly and was a ferocious defender of our founding principles who most definitely kept the other candidates on their toes and deserves credit for a job well done.

Bachmann now becomes the second Republican presidential  candidate from Minnesota to fall victim to the voters of neighboring Iowa.  Back in August, when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s own poor showing led him to end his presidential campaign a day later.

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Rick Perry Considers If There is a Way Forward for Him on the Road to the White House

Bookmark and Share  After a poor fifth place showing in the Iowa Caucuses, Governor Rick Perry gave a a very gracious concession speech in  which he announced that with great prayer and reflection, he would head home to Texas and determine if there is a way forward for him in the Republican presidential nomination.
Perry polled a sobering 11% percent in the Caucus with a total of approximately 12,300 votes.  It was less than 3,000 votes behind 4th place finisher Newt Gingrich and twice as many votes as Michele Bachmann who took 6% of the vote and finished ahead of only Jon Huntsman who did not campaign in Iowa.
Given the large amount of time and financial resources that Perry invested in to Iowa, his inability to break through as a top tier candidate would seem unlikely to change as the campaign moves to New Hampshire and beyond.  The poor showing will severely hamper Perry’s ability to raise money and now finds himself in a tough position to build the confidence in voters that he needs to prove to them that he will be electable.
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Newt Gingrich Begins to Give Some of What He Has Been Getting

Bookmark and Share Newt Gingrich closes out his bid for a win in Iowa by focussing in on Mitt Romney and reserving some of the harshest criticism of the campaign yet for the former Massachusetts Governor.

After nearly 10 million dollars of negative ads being aired against Newt, and after seeing it cut his numbers in half, Newt is now willing to accept the fact the negative campaign against has worked. Yet in an attempt to maintain his own pledge to run a positive campaign, Gingrich told CNN’s Piers Morgan that he need not attack his opponents, all he needs to do is tell the truth. And that is what he now calls his attacks on Mitt Romney ….the truth.

According to Newt, Romney is so moderate and has such a bad record and done so many things are indefensible in a Republican primary but acceptable in a Democratic primary, that all he needs to continue to do is tell the truth. [see the video below]

In an afternoon interview on Fox News, when Speaker Gingrich was asked to explain how he is can claim to to still be running a positive campaign after earlier this morning calling Romney a liar, Gingrich stated that he was asked a question and answered it honestly. But he added that what he is not going to do is waste people’s time by trying to turn such a thing in to a negative television ad campaign. He added that he is happy to remain positive and will continue to do so as the race moves beyond Iowa.

Gingrich’s claim that Romney is lying stems from earlier statements in which Newt claimed that Mitt needed to be man enough to stand up and admit that the Super PAC ads that are being run against Gingrich by Romney supporters are . Newt states and that if we can’t trust him to level with the American people about his ads, then how can we expect him to level with the American people about anything as president.

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Iowa’s King Predicts a Third Place Finish for Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   Iowa Congressman Steve King is a sort of conservative kingmaker in the Hawkeye State, yet he refused to playthat  role in the Iowa presidential caucuses.  Instead he is going down to wire claiming to be one of the 41% of caucus goers who are still undecided about who to support when the Caucuses begin at 7:00 PM.

But according to New York Times national political correspondent Jeff Zelney, King has predicted a third place showing for Newt Gingrich.

The prediction mirrors my own optimistic hopes for a decent showing by Gingrich.  As I have previously contended, a third place finish for Newt will allow him the opportunity to remain realistically viable.

While King is now predicting that Gingrich will fare better than polls currently indicate, he did not explain who he thinks will not live up to the expectations set by the existing polls and underperform.  In my book, the candidate who is most likely to not meet expectations is Ron Paul.  And if King is right, Gingrich’s third place showing would most likely mean a fourth place showing for Ron Paul.  That would be a disastrously poor showing for poll.

In recent days, the bar for poll was quite high as poll numbers indicated that he was at times in first place.  Those expectations will prove to be a humongous let down if Paul is beaten by Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich.

Going in tonight’s caucus, I am standing my own earlier prediction and am giving the edge to Ron Paul over Newt Gingrich simply due to Newt’s lack of any truly effective organization to coordinate his ground game in Iowa.  But I am quite hopeful that Steve King is right.

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